Weight Training to improve athletic performance
In recent decades, the professional and personal lives of sports stars are no longer a secret. Every minute detail of their lives are documented and discussed in various forums today.
A common thread running through the lives of many sportsters is how they train. Apparently, strength-training, weight-training or resistance training is an integral part of their training regimen. From basketballers to footballers to swimmers and golfers, weight training is popular with both sportsmen and sportswomen.
So why is weight-training so important to sportspersons? Is it not enough to just train on their specific sport? That could help them excel even more! Not really! Here are some reasons why weight training is a must for all sportspersons.
Reduce the possibilities of injury from your sporting activity
The skeleto-muscular system of the human body is made up of bones, muscles, tendons and connective tissues. Tendons and connective tissues act as stabilizers and shock absorbers. During sporting activity, they receive a lot of impact forces which leads to fatigue and even injury. Strength-training strengthens these tissues making them very resilient against injury. The incidences of injury are reduced and injuries if any heal faster now.
Significant improvement in flexibility
Speed, agility and quickness, collectively called SAQ are important factors for enhanced athletic performance. Depending on which sport you play, the muscles responsible for these factors are different. However, muscles don’t work in isolation and are more like a network which moves every time, one member of the network moves. A good strength-training program focuses on all muscle groups in the body. As a result, the entire network of muscles across the body is strengthened leading to better sporting performance.
Healthy body composition, healthy BMI
For overall health, and for athletic performance, two kinds of tissues present in the human body are important. One is fat tissue and the other is lean tissue which comprises muscles, bones, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons. When the fat tissue is present in a disproportionate manner, the person tends to be obese. In sportspersons, a drastic increase in fat tissue can affect athletic performance. A strength-training program ensures fat is burnt steadily and lean tissue is always more than fat tissue. This also ensures body mass index (BMI) of the person is on the healthy side.
Improved resting metabolism
Whenever we are active either through work, exercise or sporting activity, the body is burning calories at a good rate. However, when we are resting, this rate of burning calories is lesser for most individuals. However, for those individuals who exercise regularly, or indulge in weight-training, the body is burning calories at a healthy rate even when resting. This is a huge benefit for anybody, and even more so for sportspersons. This ensures they remain fit, healthy and flexible for long.
Most sportspersons need all of these skills to perform well: speed, flexibility or agility, resilient strength and explosive power. Explosive power is the ability to deliver a lot of power in a short span of time. Muscle Hypertrophy which refers to the size and girth of muscles plays an important role in delivering explosive power. And no other form of exercise aids in muscle hypertrophy as much as weight-training.
Enhanced bone density
If muscle hypertrophy is required to deliver explosive power, bone density is required to deliver resilient strength. That is, the strength and hardness of your bones go a long way in reducing bone fatigue, and hence sustain long durations of sporting activity. Weight-training is known to increase the density of proteins and minerals in the bone, which leads to very strong bones. This is a huge advantage for people engaged in competitive sports.
Enhanced glucose metabolism
The rate at which glucose is burnt in our body determines our energy levels and prevents the onset of diabetes. Weight-training improves glucose and insulin homeostasis. This keeps sportspersons healthy and ensures a long tenure in sports.
In addition to the physical health benefits described above, weight-training also enhances mood, prevents depression and improves cognitive intelligence in sportspersons. If you are a sportsperson, invest in a personal trainer and watch your performance improve steadily.